I'm going to be unemployed at the end of October. Job prospects in a small town aren't nearly as bad as one would fear, but there are a lot of unemployed developers around trying to get them, and I kind of like the idea of working on freelance projects rather than tied up in one specific company. Topcoder makes it sounds like a sharp coder can make a decent living working full time on competitions. Does that really work out in practice? Is it worth putting in a couple months coming up to speed on the systems here in hopes of making a decent living at it? Or am I better off looking for a “real” job?
Also wondering where I should start. I'm pretty good at Java and C. My C++ is pretty rusty but I can pick it up pretty quickly. For that matter I am really good at picking up stuff and figure I'll have to get fluent at C# and VB fairly quickly. But what I should start on first?
Thanks for any advice,